Should bloggers be expected to write for free?

blogging for free, make money blogging

Blogging is an amazing, interesting world. It’s funny how your mindset evolves as your journey as a blogger does. When I first started out, I never had any inclination I wanted to go pro, there was no plan. But as my blog began to grow as did its perceived value and the brands wanting to be “featured” on it, and as I spent more time writing, I began to wonder like many bloggers…if I should be expected to write for free?

What I mean exactly is this – if I am writing about something that I truly want to write about, that has jumped out of my own heart, or out of mind own mind, then yes of course, then why should that change whether I want to write for free?

But increasingly as your worth improves as a blogger, you begin to be inundated with requests to have this brand featured, or this infographic shared, or that thingamigy reviewed. Bloggers are included on press circulation lists sitting cheek by jowl by PAID journalists. In many instances they have far greater influencer statuses than said journalists. Journalists get paid by the publications they work for. They earn. But how are bloggers supposed to earn if they are for the most part met with replies of “sorry, no budget” or “could you feature this as a favour”?

Of course, some PRs DO have some budget, but many do still operate out on the “no budget” frontier.

So this leaves us in an awkward position…how and where are we supposed to get paid from? Should we be seen therefore more as advertisers providing native advertising avenues, or do we really fall into the PR domain?

I think the answer is that we are probably a hybrid but one thing I do know is that understanding the blogging domain, as a relatively new way of making money, has still got a long way to go.

I really would love to get a conversation going about this, and so here are four other bloggers with their views on whether bloggers should be expected write for free:

Louise from Pink Pear Bear says…

“A blog is such a personal thing, I have written about places I love purely because I feel they deserve a mention and I think others would benefit from my experience. I definitely don’t think that we should be ‘expected’ to write for free though, I put an awful lot of time & effort into blogging & a company would not expect their advertising executives to work for free so why should we? It’s definitely personal choice but if a big company is looking for advertising from a blog that has been built up with hours and hours of hard work, they should totally pay for the bloggers’ services.”

Tattooed Mummy says…

“I don’t think it’s wrong to choose what you write for. You might write for money, for a day out, for goodies, for exposure or just for fun, and all are fine. Bloggers should be allowed to make a decision without feeling “bad”. A new blogger may think that a huge brand show casing them is worth a 30 minute blog post, where a bigger blog wouldn’t. That’s fine. One day you might write for a candy bar another for £200. Still fine. I think you need to know your worth and stick to it politely. Everyone needs to pay the bills, but sometimes you can afford to blog for less for something you love.”

Chantal from Two Hearts One Roof says…

“We should be able to chose what we write for, there isn’t a wrong or right answer as such, many of us don’t blog for money but we do like to be appreciated and feel we aren’t always working just to help the massive international companies for free. its just a little unfair when big companies approach bloggers expecting us to put in a few hours work for nothing in return! They spend thousands on marketing in magazines and other forms of media but often seem so disgruntled to have to pay hard working bloggers in any way when our public reach is often very good!

And with people appreciating honest reviews of products more and more our value is only increasing. You always feel a little better about a company when they show that they value the bloggers/general public enough to pay for our time or at least give us something in return for promoting or reviewing their product or brand. Many companies throw things at ‘celebrities’ just for the chance to be ‘seen’ yet bloggers who put actual effort into our sites, publicity, marketing and posts are totally undervalued!”

Laura from Waffle Mama says…

“I write for free when it is something I choose, something I’m passionate about. If I’m approached by a brand though, I would expect some kind of payment/incentive unless it was a review – otherwise it’s just free advertising. We all want to make money and companies wouldn’t just hand out products or services for nothing and we shouldn’t be expected to do the same.”

So what do you think? Should bloggers be expected to write for free? Please join in the conversation with a comment below I’d love to hear your thoughts…

***Did this post resonate with you? Please give it a little share on Facebook or Twitter to get the conversation going!”


  1. Thank you for featuring me 🙂 I look forward to hearing what other think, especially from the PR side of things. I feel silly for doing free posts at the start with promises of ‘next time we have budget I’ll come back your way’. I figured it was worth a gamble but now get that it was just a bit of a con. Great post lovely xx

  2. I definitely think if you are putting time into promoting a brand you should get something in return. Exposure, experiences, products and cash are all appropriate rewards dependant on what you have to offer. If you want to be paid something that’s really important is not to just to say ‘my rate is £X’. Let the brand/PR know what they’ll get for their money. How many followers do you have. What content will you write for them? One post or more? How many hits does your blog get each month? Really sell yourself and PRs all be more willing to consider your pitch. If the answer is no, ask for feedback. Getting money for blogging is a slow process! Great discussion point!

  3. I really don’t think any PR or brand should EXPECT bloggers to write for free but I think, at times, all bloggers will write for free if the cause is worthy enough – and they have the time to do it. I lose count of how many times each day I have to write something along the lines of ‘no budget, no work’ in an email but there are times where I’ll write about something purely because I love it x

  4. Thank for addressing this. Since the initial idea of blogging was to share, to express your personal thought and feeling about stuff you like or hate.

    However, these aren’t their concerns (the BIG BRANDs or PRs), they’re simply into it for the money. Their only concern is how much profit your content can bring to them.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to promote your blogs, sites these days. It means that we don’t have to reply much on these “greedy” companies.

    I do believe in the long-term run. Great results are what you get after putting time and efforts. Great discussion point to have.

  5. I think that many PR companies see it as easy pickings getting free work from bloggers. But sometimes I will write for free, sometimes a very reduced budget and sometimes I stick to my original fee it all completely depends on the brand, what’s offered and most importantly my own money situation that month!

  6. It all very much depends. I have noticed, however, as my blog has grown that you reach a point of critical mass where you can say to someone; “your post will take me a day and a half to write, edit photos and edit video so I need to be compensated for my time” and they will generally agree. Reviews are an awkward one. There are times payment can be justified but it must not affect the review at all. What I no longer do is write in return for social shares. As a new blogger, I did because I needed the exposure. These days I often have a bigger social media following than the brand that wants to work with me. If you want that exposure….you pay.

  7. I think this is a really interesting conversation – with brands etc I think there should be some recompense whether that’s financial or not…like Tattooed Mummy says really, whatever the blogger wants. But then going down that route means there’s no standardisation…but then should there be? Blogs are all so different and so personal that a variety of approaches is probably best for now. I would hate to think of a blogger being taken advantage of though – knowing your worth (which will vary in size and age of blog etc) and professionally sticking to it seems the best way forward. #coolumclub

  8. I think bloggers should be compensated fairly for their time. Why should we be expected to write for free for brands and companies. I’m sure the people who pitch to us don’t do it from the goodness of their hearts and neither should bloggers. The only posts I’ve written for other for free are for charities close to my heart. Interests song post.#coolmumclub

  9. This is such a good post. I am only a year into the blogging game and haven’t ever been paid for anything, but you’re right, when approached by these companies it is something that should be recognised and discussed! Good on you for highlighting this! xx #coolmumclub

  10. I don’t think that it should be expected but you can’t blame the companies for trying when some people will do it. Some bloggers want inspiration for content and particularly in the make up blogging world people make whole blogs around reviewing products they are sent. And people do want to read reviews somewhere, so a review for a good brand can drive traffic to your blog.

    I guess what I would think is ‘do I want to do this?’. If I can write a review without it ‘compromising my integrity’ (haha that’s hilarious, as if I have any!) or changing the style of my writing, and I’m getting something out of it that I want, then why not?

    However I would never, ever consider pushing a product that I didn’t like. Unless it was mega money, my morals are pretty loose haha.

  11. It’s an interesting one. Like you say bloggers can have a lot of influence and therefore should that not be recognised somehow? Also a blog takes a lot of time and effort to maintain, grow and look after and therefore if a brand wants to work with you then perhaps they should take that into consideration. If you were a landlord you wouldn’t say “come and stay in my home for free and do what you like” and perhaps the same goes for a blog….I think if are just starting out then it might be different as you might see it as good exposure. Also if it is for a good cause then that this is different too. At the end of the day I guess it comes down to the blogger knowing their self-worth. Hope this waffle makes sense #coolmumclub

  12. I agree with Whinge Whinge Wine above. Also, blogging-and particularly advertising through blogs-is such a new field that it’s very much every blogger (and every brand) for herself/himself, and there are no guidelines on how much bloggers should be compensated for the work they do, and the reach they have. Personally, this isn’t something that has massively affected me as my blog is my personal creative outlet, and I don’t really want to compromise that in order to do someone else’s advertising for them. I tend to see myself as a writer, and not a digital marketer, but it’s an interesting question. #coolmumclub

  13. I think it’s up to the individual blogger to decide what they’re willing to do – it might depend on how experienced the blogger is (newer bloggers may be more willing to write for free until they build up a bigger following) or what they want to get out of their blog (some bloggers aren’t that concerned with making money from their blog. To each their own! #coolmumclub

  14. Although Tall Mum In Manchester is my new blog, I’ve been blogging for a few years now. I get inundated with press release emails and info about things I might be interested in, as well as offers of pre-written posts to share on my blog. I tend to avoid all of these – after all it’s nothing more than free publicity. I also steer clear of reviewing things that I don’t think would be interesting or relevant to my readers. Have the confidence to say ‘no’ if you are asked to write something you don’t want to, particularly if there’s nothing by way of compensation. I am happy to review events and products that I am interested in anyway, but in those cases attending the event or receiving the product is a form of compensation. As a blogger your time has a value, as does the value of your own brand. I don’t think brands should require or assume that bloggers will write for nothing, it completely undermines that value. #coolmumclub

  15. I definitely think that blogs should be seen as forms of advertising for companies. Companies pay for advertising, so why shouldn’t they pay for a post on a blog? Unless it is a review or something already close to the bloggers heart, then I definitely think that a fee is not unreasonable. #coolmumclub

  16. I have never done a sponsored post – I toy with the idea all the time as I think it could pay for some extras etc. But I wouldn’t have a clue and I take my hat off to anyone who actually making some money from a lovely hobby xx #coolmumclub

  17. I think bloggers should be paid fairly, we put a huge amount of work in to garner followers and have a huge range of skills so why not pay us the same as anyone else?! If they want to work with you they should pay you!

  18. I think this is a really interesting debate. One that causes awkwardness when brought up and I’m not sure why. I completely agree that bloggers should be compensated for their time especially if they have a large blog following. I have been doing a few things for free lately or in return for products but that is down to confidence and the fact that I haven’t yet got a large enough following to make large demands. Once that changes, I will indeed put a fee on my writing. Everyone needs to pay their bills!

  19. Great post and it has opened my eyes, as until this point I haven’t been paid for anything and haven’t even considered it. I’m still a relatively new blogger though and haven’t dealt with many brands yet. Who knows how I’ll feel if more approaches start to come in, but I absolutely agree that our blog is our own personal piece of the Internet, and so I’ll only give space and time to a cause or brand that I would be proud to represent and on a topic that I would be happy to write about. I think we’ve earned the right to be selective.

    Thanks for sharing another thought provoking post xx

  20. I write for free, mainly because this is my hobby and also my passion. Should I be offered money then I would be a fool not to take it but I also wouldn’t compromise my blog by writing about sponsored brands that I wasn’t genuinely in love with. #coolmumclub

  21. This is really interesting. I am too new to this to be sure how I feel about it. I just got sent a cake to review and its my first foray into anything of that kind! I do think established bloggers who reach thousands of people should charge for the time and work they put in as that is a lot of exposure for a brand or company. #coolmumclub

  22. I’ve always been of the opinion that if it’s a review, then I’d expect to write the review of the product for free, as I’ve been sent the product in return. But if you are being asked to write a post with affiliate links, or to push a particular company/brand etc, and haven’t been actually physically sent anything for free, I would expect payment in return. I think it also depends on what you set out to achieve. If your blog is just a place for you to occasionally share thoughts and experiences, and it’s just a hobby, you might do the odd post for free. But if you’re relying on the blog to make a living, you’d obviously want payment!! So many variables, but what I really think I’m saying is that writing for free should never be an expectation!!

  23. Such an interesting discussion. I don’t think bloggers should be expected to write for free, but I think the choice on whether or not to do so is a personal one. I am happy to write for free for charities that are close to my heart because their message is one that I want to promote but I won’t write a post that’s purely advertising for a brand without there being something in return. Whether that’s an experience, a product or a payment depends on what is being offered and what is being asked for. #coolmumclub

  24. I’m a pretty new blogger, so I can’t see any brands offering to pay me much to write anything at this point. But I think there should be a recognition of the hard work that goes into writing a blog, and building a readership, and when brands are getting exposure on blogs with a large readership, then of course there shouldn’t be an expectation that it comes for free. #coolmumclub

  25. This is a toughie…I guess, for me, I just do what feels right with my gut. I have turned down a load of ‘offers’ and even refused to write a review for an item I received that was quite frankly, utter shit. But, I am an unemployed Mum so who am I to turn down a bit of pocket money, as long as it fits with my brand, ethos and isn’t a ‘sell out’.
    Well done for being an amazing co-host…#coolmumclub (my comments are going to be tiredness induced random tonight, I can feel it already!!)

  26. I have only been seriously blogging for about four months now. I want to start with review blog posts and not get paid but just recieve things I need, and then maybe I will hopefully work my way into paid posts. Yes I belive bloggers should recieve either products or money for their time blogging. #coolmumclub

  27. I’m with the school of thought that any promotion should be paid for. As a ‘PR person’ I know the type of budget that clients are paying to PR companies and they aren’t small – traditionally PR is not advertising so that budget is in theory for the PR person’s ‘time’ to secure coverage in outlets that they don’t pay for (i.e. through journalists). I think this is where the problem lies. They see blogs as editorial (and therefore not paid for) and only have additional budget signed off for traditional advertising. PRs need to start viewing blogs as advertorial that needs paying for. #coolmumclub

  28. I recently wrote a post about asking bloggers to write for free and how to say no politely – it never ceases to amaze me what some PRs suggest before revealing there’s ‘no budget’. I have a growing family to feed! #coolmumclub

  29. This post has come at such a useful time for me. I’m currently beginning the journey to monetising my blog and it’s incredibly hard work. Initially I was very happy just to be sent free things (and it was fairly difficult even to crack that but! For me anyway) but I’m now beginning to get a little interest in sponsored posts – and I’m beginning to get more confident is deciding to turn certain things down if there isn’t any fee involved. I’m still happy to work for free for certain brands or products I’m particularly passionate about but often I will ask for a very small fee now. I’m at a turning point I think (hope!). Like you say, it’s very individual and totally down to the blogger and the product or situation in question x Thanks for such a useful post x #coolmumclub

  30. I think it should be up to the blogger, we should be able to choose whether we work for free without feeling bad. Some bigger bloggers say you should know your worth but for newbies I don’t see how that’s possible. You can’t know how valuable your blog is if you’re new to it.
    On the other hand I am constantly asked to write or share something as a favour. The problem I have with this is it’s often from people or companies I’ve never heard of before. If I’ve worked with a company and they ask for a favour I might consider it but when someone asks for a favour out of the blue it winds me up!

    Great discussion topic hun. x

  31. Fantastic topic! I have been blogging for a year and have yet to get any sponsored posts, that doesn’t matter to me at the moment as I have only recently started to find my way. I do think bloggers should be compensated for there time. It takes a lot of time and effort to get a post up.

  32. Such a good post!!

    I’m a pretty small fish in a big pond here and I firmly believe in working your way up. Now, I will review most products with the product being the ‘compensation’ but there are some products that take a lot of time and effort to review. I won’t do these for free because of how long they take. I would certainly expect to get paid for a sponsored or collaborative post though.

    Each blogger has to have their own sets of rules and fees for these kinds of things. I guess it all depends on what you want out of your blog!

  33. I don’t think anyone should be expected to work for free and that includes bloggers. There are some fab PRs out there who understand this and want to pay for work and that’s great.
    However, there are some who try to take advantage. I think this comes from the fact that (generally) bloggers love what we do, so the PRs don’t view it as work as such. There’s a line though between promoting a brand you love by choice and having a brand approach you and just expecting you to work for them for free.

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